Luke 23

The assembly bring Jesus before Pilate in one body (Luke 23:1). Jesus is abandoned by his disciples, and the whole community is preparing him for his death in accordance with exodus 12:6. Jesus is accused of many thing, but three we have written: of perverting the nation, forbidding to pay taxes and having said he is the Messiah, a king (Luke 23:2). The reality of course is that Jesus was restoring the nation and bringing people closer to God, encouraging to pay taxes, and when asked if he was the son of God, replies “you say that I am” (Luke 22:70). Jesus is asked if He is the king of the Jews, to which he answers “You say so” (Luke 23:3). Pilate picks up on this and says that he finds him innocent Luke (23:4). The crowd however explain that he “stirs up the people by teaching…” (Luke 23:5). Though this is said with malice, it is true that Jesus teaching was pushing people towards social change. It was bringing people together, breaking down social barriers and structures.

Jesus was brought before Herod who wanted to see a sign or miracle by him (Luke 23:8), but Jesus would not answer him (Luke 23:9). God does not do things because we want him to, we do not control God. This perhaps, is why sometimes it seems God is silent. God does things because he loves us and because it is His will. Jesus is mocked and returned to Pilate (Luke 23:11). Nobody can find fault in Jesus, because there was none in Him (Luke 23:14-15), so Pilate decided to publicly flog Jesus knowing His innocence. Why would he simply not let Jesus go? I suggest he was trying to please the people. Furthermore, the people pressure Pilate, even asking that Barabbas, ‘a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder’ (Luke 23:19-19), is released instead of Jesus. Barabbas was guilty and was rightfully imprisoned. There is an excellent video on Barabbas here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwX_EpNR4CA

Pilate surrenders to the people (Luke 23:24) and puts Jesus to death with two other criminals (Luke 23:32). Remember that Jesus said he came not to bring peace to earth but a sword (Luke 12:51), well here we have an amazing illustration of that. On either side of Jesus are people who are guilty of crimes deserving of death, as people are guilty of sin. Between them, separating them is Jesus on the cross. On the one side a criminal mocks (Luke 23:29), on the other on humbles himself accepting of his fate (Luke 23:40-42). The criminal who calls out to Jesus, knowing he has lost his life living his own way, gains life in Him. The other, even though all else has failed, still refuses to acknowledge their own sin and would rather die mocking Jesus in their pride, thinking they deserve life, than submit and confess.

It is interesting that when the centurion see’s the earth darkened and Jesus cry out and breathe His last, he praises God saying “Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:44-46). Why would someone praise God for seeing an innocent man die? Perhaps this centurion understood the price that had been paid, the life of an innocent man, so that people could know their sin and come to know God. The preparation of the lamb was complete, Jesus was wrapped in a cloth and moved to his tomb (Luke 23:53-56).

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